School & District Management Opinion

Addressing the Placement Gateway With Diagnostics & Instruction

By Tom Vander Ark — November 16, 2012 1 min read
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For many young people, placement exams are a hidden gateway in the system. Students often assume that with a high school diploma they can walk on to a
community college campus and start working on a degree but they flunk the placement exam and end up in non-credit developmental education courses. That
spells the beginning of the end of college for many young people. But that placement trap is beginning to close as states make the exams and preparation
available in high school.

Steve Titan is responsible for ACCUPLACER,College Board‘s college entrance exam, as well as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP,discussed yesterday).ACCUPLACER, like ACT Compass, is widely used by colleges to decide if students are ready to earn
college credit.

Titan said, “ACCUPLACER started as a placement exam, but it is becoming a diagnostic test can be given in high school.” College Board is investing in a new
testing platform that will launch next year expanding the types of items and making it easier to administer. Over time you’ll see more innovative
assessment items on ACCUPLACER.

College Board is building Common Core State Standards-aligned placement exams for North Carolina, Texas, and Minnesota. The new platform will made it
easier to change content so states and colleges can customize exams.

Recently College Board partnered with Pearson to link MyLab to ACCUPLACER tests to form customized
learning plans through developmental reading, writing, and math called MyFoundationsLab.

Jason Jordan from Pearson said, “MyFoundationsLab is designed to remediate on the exact areas where students are lacking.” In the initial trial, the
majority of student able to score up one level and, in some cases, test out of developmental sequence.

It’s a big benefit that students in North Carolina, Texas, North, and South Dakota have access to ACCUPLACER in high school. North Carolina and Texas will
make the bundle of ACCUPLACER and MyFoundationsLab available to high school students. Jordan said, “It’s our goal to help students arrive in college
without need for remediation.”

Next in the MyLab world? Jordan said they had three big priorities, “going mobile, becoming more adaptive, and improving performance dashboards.”

Pearson is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.